In recent years, running has experienced a spike in popularity and it’s easy to understand why. “One of the cool things about running is that it really doesn’t take a lot,” says Ben Pulham, founder of Coached and head running coach for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. “You just need a pair of shoes and you can head out wherever you are to go for a run.” The man was in town at the recent Under Armour Run Media Workshop, and we got to chat with him about how you can improve your running game:
1. Don’t Go Too Hard, Too Soon
Here’s the first step you can take in your path to becoming an elite runner: go slow and really listen to your body. “Running is an impact sport. The main reason a lot of people get hurt when they run is because they’re doing too much before their bodies can handle the load,” Pulham explains. “We have this ‘no pain, no gain, more is better’ mentality towards exercise and running. When we push ourselves too much, we overload the muscles, tendons and ligaments. We also stir up our hormones and change the way they function, causing the body to break down and end up with injuries.” If you’re a newbie, start with a pace that allows you to chat with your friend comfortably and build up from there.
2. Get The Right Shoes For Your Feet
The gear you select can have a massive impact on your training. “Everyone’s got a specific foot type, so it’s important to select the right type of shoe for you,” Pulham points out. You could have either pronated, supinated or neutral feet. “If you buy the wrong type of shoe for your foot type, you can potentially end up with injuries.” For example, if you’ve got pronated feet, the Under Armour Europa running shoes might be a better fit instead of the Under Armour Bandit series. Got neutral feet? Then you can expect to make progress with the recently launched Charged Bandit 3.
The Under Armour Charged Bandit 3
3. Remember, Comfort Is King
If you’re in doubt about the shoes you picked, ask yourself this: are they comfortable? According to Pulham, that should be the number one criteria you set, after taking into consideration its suitability with your foot type. Next, determine other factors like race distances and the type of training you’ll be doing too. For example, if you’re planning to cover long distances, you’d probably benefit from the Under Armour Bandit or Gemini series instead of the Velociti range, Pulham says. “The changes they made to the Bandit 3 are awesome. The sole has been completely upgraded; it’s now much more explosive, allowing you to generate more power for your run,” he adds.
4. Go For Less Carbs
Hands up if you’ve heard of the phrase ‘carb loading’. But before you reach for that extra serving of spagbol, hear Pulham’s two cents. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve done a lot of metabolic testing in our lab, where we measured fat burning, and I’ve come to the conclusion that a lower carb diet is actually better for runners,” he shares. The standard Asian – or even Western – fare contains more than enough carbs to fuel your runs. “When you carb load, you can end up increasing blood sugar levels, which increases insulin and suppresses fat burning,” he says. “I actually encourage my athletes to eat a lower carb diet that’s high in healthy fat. This provides all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need, helping regulate your insulin level so you can generate more energy from fat.”
5. Fuel Right Each Time
When it comes to your diet, look at what you eat daily and make adjustments from there. “The goal of nutrition is to opt for foods that have had the least human interference and are minimally processed. Whole foods are usually the most nutritious and you’ll benefit the most from them,” Pulham says. Eating healthy frequently yields better results over time too. “There’s a higher chance that your fat burning will improve. You’ll also be lean, healthy, energetic and become a great runner,” he adds.
Ben Pulham, founder of Coached and head running coach for the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon
The Under Armour Charged Bandit 3 running shoes retail for RM529. For further information, visit: www.underarmour.com.my.